2011 Goal ~ I want to Spend More ~ Yep, MORE!


I just told my husband that my goal for 2011 is to spend more money.  He said, "You mean, invest it more wisely?"  Nope — I'm not talking about giving, stocking up, saving more, etc.  I'm talking about pure spending.  Yes, this is the Bargain Believer speaking.  Crazy, huh?  (Please don't think that we ignore anything I just mentioned or that I don't think they are important.  I strongly believe they are all vital!  I feel  that we have a good grip on all of that and I just want to be free to spend.)

I don't track my spending, so it's not a very measurable goal and I realize it's slightly ridiculous.  (More on our "tracking-less" life someday.  I don't recommend it for everybody, but it works for our unique situation and with my like minded husband.  The summary is that our goal is to spend much less than we make and we can easily hit that, so I decided to save the hours I used to spend tracking it.  It's a blessing, I know!)

The reality is that since I've started Bargain Believer, I have a lot less "extra" time in my life.  I don't have as much time to get the deals I tell you about and used to get more often, but that's okay.  I'm often asked if I get most of what I put on here — NO!  I hope you don't either!!   I just can't or I would lose balance in my life.  Besides, the fun part for me is finding them and sharing them with others.  I'll be honest and say that I rarely like going to get the deals.  To me, that's work.  I like the discovery and challenge of finding them.  So, if I let a few more than usual pass, that's okay!

And . . . instead of thinking that I'm a Bargain Believer and I should be getting whatever-it-is for a good deal, I'm going to attempt not to care.  I might even start a list of things that would be nice to have, without a sale prompting the realization that I could use that.  (I'm not talking big screen TV here!)

It hit me tonight that I need a new laundry basket.  Mine is cracking and I pinch myself with it much too often!  The average person would realize this isn't a big purchase and go get one.  It just doesn't normally enter into my thinking that I need a new one.  I usually make do with what I have until a good opportunity comes along.  If I saw one on sale in Target's ad or at a garage sale, it would make me think — oh, I could use one of those and it would be really nice.

So, the 2011 Bargain Believer is going to attempt to spend that extra buck and get whatever-it-is when it's something to improve my life.  (Remember, I'm talking about things like a laundry basket or a loaf of bread that's not one sale, not a new house!)  Maybe it will save me time, add convenience, or just add pure beauty to something.  I don't even know.  I'll be on the lookout, though.

I'm telling you all this because I want to encourage most of you to do the same.  I know some of you just can't.  Thank you to all of you who have shared your stories with me.  I hope your situation improves soon and you feel more financial freedom someday.  I'm so glad I can help you live more comfortably and survive a difficult time.  I consider it a blessing to be able to help you!!  And, there really are plenty of ways not to get pinched with that laundry basket and stay content . . . I know!  :)  Hang in there!

For the rest of you who don't have to save every penny, try letting a bargain slip by.  Please remain generous and don't expect the best of everything.  Just make sure you are evaluating the cost of time and what you are giving up vs. the savings.

Don't worry!  I'll still be Bargain Believing and I hope you will be too.  Just don't let it consume you and that's my plan too.

P.S.  Let me know if you see a good deal on a laundry basket.  Kidding!!!  :)   I will pay full price when I go to Target or Walmart next.  I can almost feel the freedom of holding my basket any way I wish and not getting pinched!

Chuck E. Cheese ~ Discounts, Coupons, and Bonus Deals

Here are my Chuck E. Cheese tips . . .

If you purchase a kids' drink cup, you can get free refills.  We've used the same one for years!  (I'm not positive if this deal is valid at all locations.  Be sure to ask.)

See other great deals by going HOME.  There are plenty of local Arizona deals, but many are national.

Saving Money on Cellphone Plan ~ Cheap / Inexpensive No Contract Options May Work for You

Okay, I guess I'm doing that "someday" post right now.  :)

I'm not a heavy cell phone user since I'm home the majority of the time.  I hated the fact that I was paying $39.99 per month for my phone, but psychologically, I couldn't go on a pay per minute plan even though knew I would save money.  I would probably cut my friends off mid sentence if I was paying by the minute.  :)  I know, NOT a good bargain way to think, but it was my irrational splurge.  Even my husband's very logical numbers and rational advice didn't sway me.  I needed to think I wasn't paying for each minute.  Not wise, I know!!

So, if you're like me, read on.  If you don't use many minutes and you are more rational, check into pay per minute plans.  (Sorry, no link, you're on your own.)  You really will save money following my husband's very rational advice.  Let me know if you switch so I can let him know that his wisdom wasn't wasted on me.  :)

What is it?  I prepay (automatically, if you want) $25 and get 300 minutes with unlimited texting and data each month.  It's through Virgin Mobile, which uses the Sprint Network.  I have loved having internet access — probably a little too much.  You can click on the link above or the chart above for more details.

The phone was an upfront cost, but I prefer that to a contract, which this plan doesn't have.  We got a fairly nice phone at Target, but you can read the options on their website and see what would work best for you.  There are some very affordable phones.

If you don't care about texting or internet, there is a 400 minute talk only plan for only $20.  (There are additional charges for other services, if you need/want them from time to time.)  The summary chart is below.  You you can click that or the link above for more details.

I'm not sure how it works if your spouse needs one or you need a family plan.  (My husband works 2 miles away and is with me the majority of the other times, so he uses a very cheap phone and we play very little per minute for his.)  It might be worth looking into and doing a comparison.

I didn't start out knowing this, but as I poked around their website I saw that I receive 60 minutes credited to my account and so do you, if you use this code:   fJvOL9P4   (After your first "top up.")  Honestly, I'm not even sure if this will apply to these plans, but I'm guessing they will pro-rate it.  It's worth a try!

Red Box ~ FREE Rentals on Monday Nights ~ Text for Deal

You can sign up to get texts.  You will receive a personalized code for a free movie rental on the first Monday of each month.  (Read the details at their site.)

Find Red Box location near you.

IKEA ~ FREE Breakfast November 26th – November 28th

Between November 26th and November 28th, you can enjoy a free breakfast at Ikea.  (Not just kids, everyone!)  It's good for one free small breakfast (99¢ value) and one cup of coffee (99¢ value).  (Thanks, Mom's Essential!)

Email Subscribers READ THIS ~ Thanks!

I probably sound like a broken record to some of you, but there are always new people stopping by and signing up for emails.  I got a comment from a reader saying she didn't even know there was a website until recently, so . . . .

Readers are always leaving comments or emailing me and I am constantly making adjustments to the grocery and drugstore shopping lists.  I don't like to clutter your brain and your inbox, so I don't tell you about each one.

If you want to save the most money and time, I strongly suggest coming to the website before you make your list.  There are two simple ways to do that.  If you're in your email, you can click on the title of the shopping list you want to get to.  If you're not, just go to www.BargainBeliever.com and click on the store you want to shop at, which is in the top center area.

And, a note for those of you who signed up for email and aren't getting them.  I would say that almost 20% of you who sign up for emails never receive them because your request isn't verified.  I'm not sure if that's because you change your mind, never get the verification email, or have a typo when you entered your email address.  Whatever the case, you either have to find that email and click on the link or sign up again, if you want to receive the emails.

Also, remember that if you are a Facebook or Twitter user, you can get instant updates there to help you get those bargains that disappear quickly.

I think that covers it!  Thanks for using Bargain Believer.  I hope you're saving more than ever . . . especially at Fry's this week!!

Safeway’s New Coupon Policy ~ No Surprises, Really

Safeway issued another new coupon policy.  (Thanks Frugal Find!)

You can read the full policy using the link above, but really, there aren't any surprises.  It remains a mystery whether your internet coupon will be accepted since it must scan and they can "refuse any coupon at its discretion."  In addition to what is stated below, it also says they can change it at anytime.  Lovely, huh?

Main points:

  • Coupons can't exceed the value of the item — meaning they will adjust the coupon down. (#1)
  • Can't use a coupon on free item  (Only one coupon on Buy 1, Get 1 Free sales) (#4)
  • Will take manufacturer's coupons with another store's logo on them, but only for specific item on coupon (#6)
  • "Reserves the right to refuse any coupons at its discretion."  (#11)
  • $10 minimum purchase coupons (or similar) are calculated after Club discount & coupons deducted  (#12)
  • Will accept internet coupons (not for free items) that scan and follow standard format (#14 – #18)
  • 2 coupons can't be used for same item, this includes eCoupons — highest one is accepted (#21- #23)

Like I said, nothing new to me.  It's pretty much what the last one stated, other than the eCoupon stacking.  However, we knew that stopped since they quit allowing you to load your cards.  I haven't had any trouble with my Safeway, but I know it's been an issue from time to time at other locations.  I guess you'll just have to figure out how your store works and determine if it's worth your trip.

Soldiers’ Angels ~ Perfect Place to Donate Your Pantry Overflow!

I received this email from a reader and I thought it was worth sharing.  You can check out the website for more information.  Thanks, Katie!

I was reading your post about the children in Africa and it got me thinking…my husband and I are a part of Soldiers Angels.  If you aren't familiar with it, basically you adopt a soldier who is serving overseas and commit to sending at least one care package a month.  I know a lot of us have completely overstocked pantrys right now and this would be a great way to get rid of some snacks to a good cause.  We have gotten some very touching, wonderful letters back from our amazing soldiers.  Food banks are always great, but there is nothing like supporting our men and women overseas!!!  And especially around the holidays…

It does cost money to ship, obviously, but we use the large flat rate boxes you can get for free at the post office.  It costs around $14 to send to an APO if I remember right. 

You can visit http://www.soldiersangels.com to learn more. 

I know you probably get lots of stuff like this, just thought I would share :)  Thanks to you there are many, many readers with lots of granola bars, chex mix, and ghardettos!  Perfect snack food!

Thanks for all that you do!

Blessed to be a Blessing ~ Thank you! ~ Personal Story

If you remember, my husband and I decided to donate half of what we make as a result of Bargain Believer.  We began this website with the hope of paying the yearly hosting fee someday, but it's far exceeded that.  You guys are amazing!

Tamara, a friend of mine was able to visit Africa to see boys she calls her sons.  She and her family have formed a significant relationship with them through Skype and other means.  She sincerely loves these boys!  I saw soccer shirts on clearance at JC Penney's and immediately knew they would be perfect to bring to the orphanage where her boys live.

I was planning on using Bargain Believer profit, but wanted to stretch it as far as I could.  I asked the store manager if she could mark them down further.  (I think they were around $6?)  I told her I would be willing to pay, but would love it if she could donate all or part of them too.  She was able to mark them down to $1.97, which I thought was the end of the deal — and a good one!  Then, she told me to wait and she'd do some research and see what she could do.

I just picked up 59 soccer shirts from the Gilbert JC Penney's today — TOTALLY FREE!  Leslie was wonderful to work with and I'm so grateful.  (She even told me she'd email me a link to the "friends & family" coupon when it comes out.  Stay tuned!)

Instead of paying for shirts, I was able to give Tamara a check to help with her costs.   Thank you for your part in that!

Tamara has set up a website, We are Blessed to be a Blessing.  Check it out!  She'd love for you to pray or get involved in other ways.  There are items she would like to take over there, but her biggest need is for money to get there.  She is hoping to take her family of four next year.  You can contact her through that website, if you desire.  (Also, check out the sidebar if you're interested in purchasing coffee or a cookie cutter shaped like Africa.)  Just a note:  The blessings are multiplied, but the taxes are not deducted as a result of your generosity.  :) 

So . . . thanks for the shirts!  If it wasn't for the 50% that I was planning on giving away, I probably wouldn't have asked about them.  The blessings just keep on multiplying!

Thanks for using my coupon links (a few of them pay me a commission), clicking on Google ads (only when you're truly interested, please!) and following other links that lead you to some bargains.  The majority of the links I give you don't pay me anything, but the ones that do certainly add up.  Thank you for using this site!

When a Bargain isn’t a Bargain ~ A Personal Story

A quick (okay, if you don't know me . . . maybe more like medium to long length) personal story to encourage you all to see beyond the deal — which can sometimes be a blinder for me.

Just as I like to get good deals, I also like to save on the necessities, one being electricity.  Something that just doesn't happen around this Bargain Believing house is leaving a light on all night.

My son has a dim night light, but also likes to have the hall light on when he goes to sleep.  It's usually not a problem.  I just turn it off after he falls asleep or as I'm going to bed.

Well, last night he was up late and I was going to bed a little bit early.  I attempted to turn it off, but my 10 year old wasn't asleep . . .

Son:  "Mom, can you leave the light on?"
Me:  "No, I'm going to bed."
Son:  "But, I'm used to it on and I get scared."
Me:  "But, you have a night light."
Son:  "But, I like it on."
Me:  Thinking, thinking, praying, listening, praying, listening . . .  "Okay, I'll leave it on."
Son:  "Thanks, good night."

A little while later, (after no further discussion or conversation about why)
Son:  "Mom, you can turn the light off if you want.  That would cost a lot of money
           to leave it on all night."  (Yes, he's definitely my son!)
Me:  "No, I'll leave it on.  It's not that much."
Son:  "No, you can turn it off."
Me:  "That's alright.  It's important to you, so I'll leave it on."

I can't tell you how much his unselfish attitude blessed me.  I witnesses a softened, kind heart that can sometimes get overlooked with normal day to day happenings.  God planted a "yes" in my heart that will be a reminder of something I often repeat to my kids, "People are more important than things!"

Really, what did that cost me, 25¢?  I'm not sure and I don't even care.  I made my son feel more important than saving money and that's what he and I will remember — not having extra in the bank or to spend on something else far less valuable than him.

I share this, not to show how wonderful I am (really, a quarter?), but to honestly tell you that I constantly struggle to keep a balance in my life — bargains and beyond.  It's not just bargains for me, it's also time.  These precious years are flying by and I want to invest what I've been given wisely.  Thank you, Lord, for blessing me well beyond bargains!  What a treasure I have in my son!

Anyone else have a hard time seeing the big picture sometimes?

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